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Business Name Registration

There are four types of business structures in Ontario: sole-proprietorship, partnerships, corporations and cooperatives. Learn more about which business structure is right for you.

Business Registration and Licencing

The Economic and Cultural Development department offers business registration and licence assistance for all new and existing businesses.

New businesses will typically fall under one of the three most common business structures:
  • Sole proprietorship: A non-incorporated business with only one owner.
  • General partnership: A non-incorporated business with more than one owner.
  • Incorporation: A legal entity that separates the business from its owner/operator. Incorporations can be made either federally or provincially.
Below are some resources to help decide which business structure to choose:

Registering for a Sole Proprietorship or General Partnership

A Master Business Licence applies to entrepreneurs who want to register a sole proprietorship, a partnership or an operating name (trade name) for a corporation. The name of a new business must be registered if it is different than the business owner’s legal name. A sole proprietorship or general partnership registration does not guarantee exclusivity of a business name. A Master Business Licence is valid for a five-year period and must be renewed once it has expired.

Costs to register a Master Business Licence at our office:
  • $8 to $26 depending on the types of records included in the search
  • $80 to register or renew
  • $20 + tax administration fee

*Only Visa, Visa Debit, Mastercard or Mastercard Debit are accepted for payment

Ready to register for a Master Business Licence?

City of Vaughan staff can assist with business registration for sole proprietorship and general partnership from Monday to Friday from 8:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; no appointment required.

Register online with Ownr

If you’d like to register online, you can use Ownr: a digital platform that helps you register a sole proprietorship or incorporation in minutes. Complete with 30 free business name searches, exclusive discounts and offers for your business, and dedicated customer support to guide you every step of the way.

Use Ownr to receive $50 off your sole proprietorship registration or incorporation.

Incorporating a Business

When a business is incorporated, it is considered to be a legal entity that is separate from its owners. It is always wise to seek legal advice before incorporating. An incorporation can either be made federally or provincially.

Provincial (Ontario) corporation

Federal corporation

Register online with Ownr

If you’d like to register online, you can use Ownr: a digital platform that helps you register or incorporate your business in minutes. Complete with 30 free business name searches, exclusive discounts and offers for your business, and dedicated customer support to guide you every step of the way.

Use Ownr to receive $50 off your business registration or incorporation.

Business Number

A business number (BN) is your single account number for dealing with the federal government regarding taxes, payroll, import or export and other activities. If you plan to hire employees, or if you will be importing and/or exporting products or services, you will need to get a business number.

If you sell goods and services in Ontario, you may need a business number to charge and remit the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST).

For more information, contact the Canada Revenue Agency at 1-800-959-5525.

Getting a Municipal Business Licence

Planning to operate a business in Vaughan? A municipal business licence may be required. The City of Vaughan currently licenses/permits various types of businesses, special events, lotteries and other activities.